People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday officially signed up for the Jan. 14 presidential election, calling on the public to look beyond party lines and vote for him.
Ending months of speculation about his determination to join the race, Soong and his running mate, Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄), completed the registration process at the Central Election Commission (CEC) and promised to improve the overall environment for Taiwanese at a press conference together with the party’s legislator-at-large candidates.
“Elections in democratic societies look to elect wise and capable candidates, rather than pan-blue or pan-green [candidates]. Taiwan has suffered from the vicious conflict between the two camps in the past 10 years, and people should put a stop to this and find new hope through their ballot,” Soong said.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
Amid cheers from about 100 supporters chanting “Let’s send Soong to the Presidential Office,” Soong slammed President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), accusing them of poor performance and incompetence in leading the nation forward. He also accused the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of corruption.
“Ma launched a ‘home stay’ campaign; I think we should let those who don’t have the people in mind ‘stay home,’” he said.
“The DPP’s presidential campaign slogan is ‘Taiwan Next,’ but Taiwan should be the first. I will make Taiwan the pride of Asia,” he said.
The Soong-Lin ticket was the third team to formally throw its hat into the ring, following the lead of the KMT ticket of Ma and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and the DPP pairing of Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).
Lin displayed a document he said would dispel rumors that he possesses dual citizenship. The document, issued by the US Department of State on Monday, reads “certificate of loss of nationality of the United States.”
According to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), aspirants should not hold dual nationality on the date they register their candidacies.
“I am no longer a US citizen, and I think this should stop the rumors,” Lin said.
The commission said it would collect the documents provided by Lin and double-check them with related government agencies.
The issue of Lin’s nationality drew attention after Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), chairman of a KMT splinter group, the New Party, was quoted in a recent newspaper report as saying that the Soong-Lin ticket might not register for the presidential election because Lin was “probably still a US citizen.”
Soong said he looked forward to hearing a public apology from Yok over the nationality issue.
The PFP also unveiled its list of 18 legislator-at-large candidates, with PFP adviser and National Chengchi University professor Thomas Lee (李桐豪), writer Chang Hsiao-feng (張曉風), former Miaoli County commissioner Fu Hsueh-peng (傅學鵬) and Ming Chuan University assistant professor Chen Yi-jie (陳怡潔) topping the list.
Soong’s registration, viewed as a potential election spoiler in the eyes of the KMT, has put an end to a possible cooperation between the two parties.
Former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) acknowledged that Soong’s participation in the race has engendered a sense of crisis in the pan-blue camp amid fears of a split in the vote.
“Instead of complaining about each other, we should turn this sense of crisis into strength and join efforts to claim victory in the elections,” he said.
Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲), director of the KMT’s Culture and Communication Committee, said the KMT respected Soong’s decision, adding that the two parties would engage in a gentleman’s race in the presidential and legislative elections.
Additional reporting by CNA
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations